Qualitative Research in Therapeutic Recreation


  • Charles C. Bullock


qualitative research, participant observation, open-ended interviews, therapeutic recreation research


The field of therapeutic recreation needs research to explain and support its existence. Recognition of this fact has spurred some research although most of it has been traditional) positivistic, and quantitative research. Qualitative research has been shunned as "soft" and "not really research." This paper takes the strong stance that qualitative research  if properly conceived and conducted is at least as rigorous and systematic and consequently as useful as quantitative research. This paper attempts to provide a basic understanding of qualitative research and some of its most often used methods. Following a discussion of the theoretical perspective within which most qualitative research is conducted, there is a presentation of two exemplary methodsparticipant observation and open-ended interviewing. Since many researchers are not familiar with qualitative research, several often raised questions and concerns are addressed. Finally)· this article includes possible implications of this type of research for the field of therapeutic recreation.



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